At a Horsham District Council Cabinet Meeting on 7 October 2021, councillors will be asked to consider a proposal and business case from the Horsham Branch of the Royal British Legion for it to lease and take overall control of the activities and operations of the Drill Hall, Denne Road, Horsham.
If the proposal is successful, the Horsham Branch of the Royal British Legion will look to use the Drill Hall as its headquarters, as a social space for its members, and as an ongoing community facility for the benefit of residents and visitors.
The Horsham Branch will also invite all Armed Forces charities, Cadet bodies and supporting organisations to benefit from the community facility.
It is planned that the Horsham Branch will establish a Drill Hall Standing Committee for the ongoing management and marketing of the Drill Hall facility.
Commenting on the Royal British Legion proposal, Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture Cllr Roger Noel said:
I am pleased that we are now in a position to give full consideration to the Horsham Branch of the Royal British Legion’s proposal regarding the ongoing ownership and management of the Drill Hall.
If the proposals are accepted, they will see the future of the Drill Hall safeguarded and kept as a key community facility for their own use, that of our various Armed Forces communities, and for the broader general public.
The proposal aims to retain the Drill Hall as the community asset for which it was originally intended and delivers on the promises made by the Council when it signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2014.
Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Horsham Town Centre Cllr Tony Hogben added:
This is potentially really good news for the ongoing provision of community facilities in the heart of Horsham Town Centre.
The swell of support for the town centre’s Drill Hall was very evident back in 2020 when the Council first undertook an independent review into community facilities for the Denne Ward.
This proposal would create a home for Horsham’s various military and service organisations and would grow and develop the role of the Drill Hall for the wider local community.
Horsham Branch Chairman of the Royal British Legion Zӓl Rustom commented:
This is a great opportunity to bring communities together and safeguard the future of an historically significant building that has touched the hearts of many. Whilst establishing a new headquarters for the Horsham Branch we want to create a home for the wider armed forces community and deliver on the Legion’s ‘four pillars’ of Welfare, Representation, Remembrance and Comradeship.
The project is not all military; from the start we want to see strong community use across all ages and all walks of life. Furthermore, we are keen for everyone in Horsham to have a sense of ownership.
I am pleased with the engagement and support we have received from Horsham District Council’s team. I genuinely feel we are all working together to make this a success.